Hi, well this might seem like an odd post because I’m not actually a parent. Basically my question (well a number of questions really) revolves around my niece, who’s nine. Over the last year and a half or so we’ve got on really well and become very close- it’s worked so well partly because her father (my partner’s sister’s ex-partner) left them a while ago- which I hasten to add is just as well as he was a truly nasty piece of work- and I guess I’d reached that stage in my life where I was ready to give something back and focus on lives other than my own and my partner’s... as in possibly have kids (only thing is, my partner doesn’t really want to have any kids! But that’s another story and in any case the situation is what it is. She’s actually fine with them- I think it’s the birth thing more than anything else...)
So anyway all is well on that sense- she loves coming round to see us as often as possible or going out places with us, and I’ve also taken on the role of helping her with her education- my English and maths are pretty decent and more to the point, she has a real passion for learning- so I kind of think of it as a duty.
I guess you could say we’ve kind of adopted each other in a way!
I suppose I’m really after general tips and advice about helping a kid of that age get the leg up she’s going to need to be happy and successful in life. She lives on a pretty bad estate (another reason why I worry- unfortunately we don’t have the money to help them move somewhere better) and I am concerned that she’ll fall in with the wrong people somehow (particularly in years to come) despite my advice, and for some reason she hasn’t done as well as she could at school so far- I can only think it’s the teaching, because she’s perfectly intelligent and able to grasp and understand concepts in an instant.
The other thing that does prey on my mind is the possibility that at some point I’ll fall out of favour and she’ll distance herself and go on her way (particularly as she becomes a teenager) and won’t want anything to do with me- and I hasten to add, yes I realise that’s astonishingly selfish of me but I’m just being honest- no one likes to feel they’re of no further use.
You could say I’ve made it my top priority to do what I can to help her- but I sometimes I sit and think it through and I’m struggling to know what to do. Yes, I realise a lot of this is simply inexperience- I don’t have kids of my own and you may be wondering why I’ve got myself into this situation in the first place, but as I now seem to be like a father to her (and she’s certainly like a daughter to me), I intend to see it through and do whatever is in my power.
Another problem is that she seems to have found her way onto Facebook and there doesn't seem to be much I can do about it- her mum seems to have allowed her, and she's already "added" some people who she really shouldn't be associating with...
I probably need someone with a good deal with experience and common sense in this area than me, to give some advice if they can!